Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Licking His Chops/Snake Sex

Last week, Mary and I took a walk in the Pennypack Preserve after dinner.  As we rounded the corner in the Management Trail, we startled a white-tailed deer buck in velvet that had been eating.  I managed to get the camera "up" just in time to catch him licking his chops; it must have been some succulent vegetation.  This buck allowed us to watch him for a full half-minute before he finally spooked and ran off up the hill.

Then, last Sunday, in preparation for a walk, we connected with two friends who had bought a house adjacent to the preserve along the creek.  The previous owner of the house loved and protected all wildlife in her yard, including some pretty fearsome but non-venomous northern water snakes (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) that liked to curl up and sun themselves on the rocks lining her walkway.  I asked our walking companions (the new owners) if the snakes were still there, and they led me to the top of the steep streambank above the creek and encouraged me to look over the edge.

There, on a flat rock at the water's edge, were two of the snakes.
Northern Water Snakes along the creek; look on the light gray rock center right bottom
Serpents close up
When we returned from our walk an hour later, the snakes had moved to another rock.  This time, we caught them in flagrante delicto:
And, there was a third snake coiled up and sunning itself on the stones lining the walkway to the house!  Just like old times!

Submitted by:
David Robertson, Executive Director

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